The third block of the 2016 Quilt Extravaganza is here! This month, you’ll learn how to create a contemporary quilt block, featuring semicircles machine appliquéd to the scrappy background fabrics. Use the Carefree Curves Template to create the shapes easily and without setting in any curved seams.

Have you selected fabrics and created the strata for your 2016 Block of the Month? Check out the details in the January 9 blog. I encourage you to use as many scraps from your stash as possible. I’m using bright and neutral fabrics in this quilt.

All blocks for 2016 will be created from pieced fabric strata. Read more on this blog post.

2016 Block Of The Month Quilt Extravaganza by Nancy Zieman | Sewing With Nancy
2016 Block Of The Month Quilt Extravaganza by Nancy Zieman | Sewing With Nancy

Block #3: Opposites Attract


Cut Fabrics

Cut the following fabric and interfacing pieces:

  • From each bright and neutral strata cut one 6-1/4″ x 12-1/2″ fabric rectangle (background).
  • From each bright and neutral fabric strata cut one 10″ x 10″ fabric square (for circles).
  • Cut two 10″ x 10″ interfacingrectangles (for circles).
  • Cut one 1″ x 12-1/2″ fabric rectangle (dividing strip).

Create the Semicircles

  • Using the 10″ x 10″ fabric and interfacing rectangles, pin the smooth side of the interfacing on the right side of the fabric. Make two pair; one bright strata and one neutral strata.
  • Use a fine tip marking pen to trace the 8-1/2″ semicircle onto the interfacing. (This is the pink ring on the template.)

  • Straight stitch, using a short stitch length, 2.0—2.5, directly on the marked curve.
Note from Nancy
Use a short stitch length to ensure a smooth stitching line when sewing a curve. I often compare using a short stitch length to driving in the mountains. To maneuver the curvy road, a slower speed ensures that you’ll stay on course.

  • Use a rotary pinking blade to remove excess fabric.

  • Remove the excess interfacing from within the circle, leaving approximately 1″ of interfacing.

  • Press.

  • Trace an additional piece of fusible interfacing 8-1/2″.
  • Cut along the marked line.
  • Trim the interfacing 1/8″ around the perimeter.
  • Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the neutral strata.
Note from Nancy
Fusing the interfacing prevents or reduces the amount of background (bright strata) seen through this piece once it is appliquéd.

Build the Block

Set the strips on a perfect 45 degree angle with this trick:

  • Position the template on the finished circle aligning the horizontal line parallel with strata seams.
  • Mark the 12 o’clock and three o’clock positions.
  • Place pins in the 12 and three o’clock marks.
  • Fold circle in half matching pins and wrong sides.
  • Press.
  • Remove pins. Unfold.
  • Use rotary cutting tools to cut along the pressed foldline.
Note from Nancy
Pin together and save the unused semicircles. You’ll be using these sections in a later month.
  • Fold the background fabric in half to find the center. Lightly finger press.
  • Fold the semicircles in half to find the center. Lightly finger press.
  • Align the centers and cut edges of each semicircle and background fabric.
  • Pin semicircles to the backgrounds.
  • Edgestitch with monofilament thread.
Note from Nancy
Notice in the photo I used an open toe foot and a narrow blanket stitch to stitch the circle to the background. Each point takes a small dip into the circle itself. Choose a blanket stitch, decorative stitch, or straight stitch to apply the shapes.
  • Lay out the block with the center dividing strip.
Note from Nancy
Consider auditioning different center strips to decide on the best complimentary color.

  • Cut the center strip measurement to 1″ x 12-1/2″.
  • Use a 1/4″ seam allowance to join the center dividing strip to one side of the block.
Note from Nancy
Here’s where accuracy is important. If the seam allowance is wider or narrower than 1/4″, the finished block will not be square.
  • Press seam allowances towards the center dividing strip.
  • Use a 1/4″ seam allowance to add the right side. Press.
  • Ta-dah! Another block is complete.
 If you are on social sites, let all your friends know you are working on The 2016 Quilt Extravaganza Blocks by tagging your post with the hashtag: #NZBoM.

What would a Quilt Look Like?

Suppose we were to make a quilt using only this one block style, what would it look like?

  • This first digital quilt concept focuses on creating a larger “spinning” block by joining four March blocks together. The larger 24″ block units are then stitched into rows to create this large quilt.

  •  The second digital concept quilt featured uses the positive and negative color values to create an alternating design. Notice how the background halves create a secondary scrappy block. 

  •  The last digital quilt yields a fun table runner. Borders, which are cut from additional random scrap fabrics, are added to five March blocks.

We’ll be using the Carefree Curves Template throughout the entire 2016 Quilt Extravaganza. Watch episodes online for more tips on using the templates in my two-part series featuring the Trace’n Create Carefree Curves tools on Sewing With Nancy.

Watch Quilt with Carefree Curves (Part One and Part Two) on Sewing With Nancy online.

To watch Sewing With Nancy on your iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone, download the app.

Sew and Share

Send in a photo of your blocks and quilts and we’ll share with others in upcoming blogs and on Facebook. I’d really like to see what fabrics you’re using! Send the images to [email protected]
Bye for now,
Nancy Zieman The Blog

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